book review: bel canto


I recently discovered the lovely blog called the modern Mrs. Darcy and I’ve become crazy fond of her writing style, but especially her love of books. She’s opened up a whole host of reading material that have seriously rebooted my library wish list.

I came home from the library a few weeks ago armed with a whole stack of books recommended and Bel Canto by Ann Patchett was the first book I grabbed from the said stack. I read a few short reviews on goodreads before I got started and honestly I was a little nervous about it. The reviews were pretty mixed, but I decided to plunge in anyway.

It honestly took me at least 100+ pages to get into the story. I found out after I finished the book that it is loosely based on an actual hostage event that happened in Peru in the ’90s. The story is about a Japanese man who comes to an unnamed South American country for a birthday celebration in his honor. What gets him to come to this event is the opera singer they have invited to sing in his honor. The party turns into a hostage event that goes on and on and on for weeks upon weeks.

Once the characters are all introduced, the story really takes over and it really did suck me in a bit. It is about the relationships that develop between these very unlikely people: wealthy businessmen and politicians with the kidnappers who were jungle raised with literally nothing. The kidnappers become overwhelmed with the running water, televisions and plushness of the mansion they have taken over and the businessmen and politicians find themselves with nothing but time on their hands…something they normally don’t have. It causes these men to realize the things that they have “lost” at home and their love for their families. It causes others to realize what the desires of their hearts truly are. It is really about people letting down and letting go of the fakeness that we tend to put on and they are truly just stripped down to who they really are.

I will warn you the ending is abrupt and hard. There is also an epilogue that I honestly wouldn’t read. I read a review on goodreads where the reviewer wishes that the epilogue wasn’t even included because after the harshness of the ending of the story it seemed really out of place and I agree.

Overall a great book…if you can stick with the first 100 or so pages of character introductions.


One thought on “book review: bel canto

  1. I have a deep longing to read Ann Patchett ever since she opened Parnassus Books in Nashville and did a kick-amazing interview on Colbert (I think it was). I don’t think this is the one I’ll start with, but I’m thankful to read a friend’s review. I’m not sure if I should thank you for introducing me to the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog or shake my fist at the growing number of books I want to read since skimming her blog only briefly. 🙂

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